The Road to More Intelligent Lead Generation with Email

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Source: Mailigen (Where this article first appeared)

Ask a marketer to list their priorities in 2017 and most of them would put driving traffic and lead generation at the top.

Hubspot’s State of Inbound report reveals just that with more than 60% of them listing generating traffic and leads as their top priorities in all regions.

Source: Hubspot’s State of Inbound Report — 2017

Capturing a lead — someone who has a potential of providing revenue to your business — however, isn’t an easy job. In fact, for modern day marketers, lead generation is one of the biggest challenges in 2017.

According to BrightTalk, 80% of them report that their efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective.

While an increase in social media penetration and its familiarity has contributed to quality leads and helped sooth down a marketers’ anxiety, it still isn’t close to the oldest and the most effective medium for lead generation: e-mail marketing.

Email has come a long way. According to the Radicati group, we are nearing a worldwide user base of 3 Billion by 2020.

In 2014, McKinsey released a now widely cited study. It highlights that email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers.

These numbers are huge. However, they don’t just put light onto a bigger market to tap in for lead generation, but also serve to be an alarming call to get intelligent and smarter with email marketing.

In this article, we explore 4 ways you can use email to generate and close leads — the smarter way.

1) PERSONALIZE AND SEGMENT


At each instant, every person is in a different buying cycle. Moreover, they don’t necessarily have the same root cause backing their decision to purchase from you.

This is where email Personalization & Segmentation become critical to your lead generating email marketing strategy.

Econsultancy reports that businesses who personalize email report a 14% uplift in sales. However, while the commercial case is strong here, only 5% of companies are personalizing their emails.

In an age where an average user receives an average of 121 emails per day, segmented and personalized emails help companies stand out. So how do you do it right?

At the core, it is all about defining your audience based on certain parameters. An important thing to remember is that personalization goes beyond calling people by their names in the email body and subject.

To make full use of personalization, a good place to start is segmenting your list by using Mailigen’s sign-up forms, online surveys, or email activity.

In the e-mail below, Hubspot has segmented me:

  • As someone who has an interest in the courses offered by the Hubspot Academy;
  • Personalized the e-mail with my name;
  • Personalized the email with the content that I’d like to consume;
  • Provided a human face to their business. Notice, I have received this email from Justin Lee and not HubSpot Asia. An important point to note here is that people do business with people.


Other great personalization tactics include making use of dynamic content, dynamic RSS campaigns, location and time, among many others.

Read: Infographic: The Future of Email Content — Alive and Personal

2) USE EMAIL AUTOMATION

Email automation is one of the most important (and smartest) aspects of email marketing today.

In fact, in a report by Marketo and Ascend2, 91% of the most successful users agreed that marketing automation is “very important”.


Here’s an example:

A user visits your e-commerce website, checks out your product, adds it to the cart and bounces off.

In traditional marketing, the user will still receive emails but they will not be relevant, targeted and personalized. Moreover, these emails are manually driven.

Where marketing automation excels is by triggering emails based on user activity. These emails are part of marketing automation or drip marketing campaign.

In our example above, the user will receive a triggered email informing them about an item in their cart. Few days later, they will get a 25% discount on the product.

Marketing automation enables trigger-driven, behavior-based emails that you create in advance — saving you time, energy, and heaps of money. This makes an email more personal, relevant, and timely — which is at the core of email marketing.

Read: A Beginner’s Guide: How to Make The Most of Email Marketing Automation

3) KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

If you plan to run email marketing at scale, data will be the crux of your strategy.

Measurement and analytics of your email marketing strategy leads to smarter decision — which in turn increase the overall ROI based on optimizations and changes. So, what are the metrics you should you measure and analyze for intelligent email marketing?

Click Through Rate: Click through rate is a measure of whether or not your email sparked interest in your target audience. It’s important to factor in the various parameters that affect CTR before making optimization decisions.

Conversion Rate: After someone has clicked on your email, the next goal is for them to perform a desired action. This can be purchasing a product or filling up a lead. Whatever the end goal may be, conversion rate tells the story of how relevant is the overall offer. If you are consistently seeing a poor conversion rate, it is important to optimize the strategy.

Forwarding rate: It is vital to keep an eye on the email sharing rate or forwarding rate metric. Forwarding rate determines the relevancy of your email and also the number of new users you can generate. Hence, it becomes one of the important metrics to track.

ROI: There are many ways to calculate ROI and it depends what you want to achieve from your business. On a simpler level, it is a factor of all your investments and the profit you made from it.

Measurement and analytics is critical for an intelligent email marketing strategy. Data driven decisions hardly go wrong.

Read: How Email Marketing Metrics Can Help You To Make Your Campaigns More Efficient

4) MAKE IT MOBILE FIRST

Smartphones are key to a smarter email marketing.

Source: Radicati Group

“By the end of 2018, worldwide mobile email users are expected to total over 2.2 billion”. — The Radicati Group “Email Statistics Report, 2014–2018”

The growth of mobile as a means of email communication has been nothing short of tremendous.

According to Emailmonday, Mobile email opens have grown by 180%. So, if you are a modern day marketer without a clear mobile first strategy for email marketing, then you are missing out on a lot of leads, customers and added ROI.

With a mobile-friendly email, you ensure consistent communication across devices. A mobile friendly email is tailored to mobile and has elements stacked up in a manner that creates better experiences.


Some of the key elements include shorter copy, using a larger font size and having a distinct call to action .

Here’s a great infographic by Salesforce that highlights key mobile-friendly elements that should be part of your next email.

Read: Best Practices For Email Marketing On Mobile Devices


In an age where Social Media dominates the ad spend pie, email marketing has been a clear outlier. Slowly and steadily, it has become a disruptive channel in terms of return on investment.

Clearly, marketers have taken notice. Which is why an average user receives about 121 emails per day.

So the next time you send an email, make sure your business stands out by practicing smarter and intelligent email marketing. Today it isn’t just a best practice, it is necessary for a successful marketing strategy.


This article was originally published on Mailigen — a ridiculously awesome email marketing platform for all your business needs.

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What are some skills that I should develop before I turn 18?

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Originally answered on Quora

If there’s only ONE skill you can develop and be good at, it should be that of having a Growth Mindset.

As you grow older, life is going to get tougher (don’t let anyone tell you it’s going to be easy).

You will face many obstacles and roadblocks that will stop you from achieving from what you want to do. You will also feel dumb a lot of times.

But all that’s okay. Feeling a little dumb is fine. What isn’t is the notion that you will remain dumb on a particular topic forever.

The world is moving at an unprecedented pace. There are technologies and inventions popping up everyday from every corner of the world.

So, how do you keep up?

  • You can choose to have a fixed mindset. You will become stagnant and sooner or later someone more dynamic, agile, and growth driven will replace you.
  • Or you can develop a growth mindset. This way, you stay curious, learn, and be at the top of your food chain.

Growth mindset is a push you need to provide yourself every day so that whenever you feel you do not know about something or you can’t do it because you lack the knowledge, you take that challenge head on.

Growth mindset is an always on activity — a habit more than a skill.

Doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 38, aim to develop a growth mindset. It will benefit you your entire life.

7 Ways to Rise Above Facebook’s Declining Organic Reach

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Facebook’s news feed algorithm is an ever-changing entity. Visit the site that tracks these changes, and you will see an enormous number of tweaks happening every month.

In early 2012, Facebook made significant changes to the news feed algorithm. One such change led to a plummeting organic reach for Facebook pages.


When businesses started noticing this decline in organic reach, Facebook addressed it with the following statement:

“Based on a recent quality check, we made an adjustment to the news feed algorithm to respond to the negative feedback signals of spam and people hiding posts. Current signals show the adjustment has been successful. The median reach of Facebook pages has remained the same while spam complaints and stories hidden by users have fallen significantly.”

As years passed, businesses and brands kept on noticing a decreasing trend line for their organic reach. In 2014, Social@Ogilvy published a report on the state of organic reach and how it is approaching zero. Their analysis found organic reach for pages — with more than 500k fans — had dropped to as low as 2%. For pages with less than 500k fans, organic reach dropped to 6%.


Last year, Marketing Land reported Facebook’s organic reach was down by 52% for publishers.

Source: Social Flow

Kurt Gessler, Deputy Editor of Digital News at the Chicago Tribune noted this decline in a story published on Medium:

“In December of 2016, we had only 8 posts with 10,000 reach or less. In January of 2017, that had grown to 80. In February, 159. And in March, a ridiculous 242 posts were seen by fewer than 10,000 people. And while late 2016 saw record lows in that lowest quartile, that 242 is far above any prior month in our dataset. And we were seeing a steady decrease in that 25,001 to 50,000 quartile. That had gone from 248 in January 2016 to 141 in March 2017.”

Source: @Kurt Gessler

Following this came another big update. In January this year, Facebook made changes to the news feed algorithm to show the most relevant stories to its users. As a result, here’s what the current Facebook organic reach looks like by Industry:

Source: Agora Pulse

According to Facebook, the recent news feed change aims to rank updates better than before by introducing two new factors:

Incorporating new signals to better identify and rank authentic content

A new way to predict and rank in real-time when posts might be more relevant to you

To identify which stories make it into your news feed, Facebook has outlined thousands of signals. The most important ones to consider are:

  • Interest: Are your fans interested in your update?
  • Post: How are people responding to your post?
  • Creator: How have you been performing? Do fans love your updates? Do they engage with it?
  • Type: What type of post is it? A video, link, photo, or text?
  • Recency: How recent (and relevant) is your update?


At its core, Facebook’s aim is to offer relevant, tailored content in the news feed.

“For example, if your favorite soccer team just won a game, we might show you posts about the game higher up in News Feed because people are talking about it more broadly on Facebook.” — Source: Facebook Newsroom

But even if you create authentic, relevant content, why is organic reach declining? And what does it mean for your Facebook page?

The Reason Behind A Declining Organic Reach

Currently, there are more than 65 million Facebook pages posting an average of two posts per day. When a user logs in to Facebook, their news feed can potentially have more than 1,500 stories at a time. Users with more connections can have as many as 15,000 stories in their news feed at a time. Clearly, there’s more content being published at any particular time than people can absorb.

The rise in smartphone usage has only contributed to the content explosion. Currently, more than 1.74 Billion people are active on Facebook every month. Moreover, the number of pages an average user likes on Facebook has increased significantly over the years.

As a result, there’s a surge in the supply of content, but less real estate available to share content.

Hence, to gain exposure in news feeds organically, brands and businesses compete on more than 100,000 signals identified by Facebook.

What Does This Mean For Your Facebook Page?

As content generation speeds up, organic reach is soon going to be a thing of the past. Does this mean your current page fans will become irrelevant to your business? No.

As noted by Brian Boland, Facebook’s VP of Publisher Solutions, fans of your Facebook page have a lot of value because they can make your ads more effective, efficient and provide credibility for your business. Check out Brian’s article to learn more.

So, what can you do to maintain your organic reach?

1. Use Facebook Live

https://gph.is/2pwGU9E

Live video streaming is alive and kicking. A quick look at the interest in Facebook live over the past two years shows just how much people appreciate video streaming.


Facebook placed a big bet on live streaming. According to WSJ, Facebook signed around 140 contracts with video creators — paying them a total more than $50 Million.

Source: WSJ

In its initial days, the social media giant sent push notifications to large numbers of users whenever a page started a Facebook live post. Since its launch, Facebook live videos have had a greater organic reach compared to other forms of content.

While the the number of push notifications have gone down over time, Facebook is still pushing live videos in the news feed.

To succeed with live video, Facebook suggests the following best practices and tips for an effective Facebook live post:

Tell people ahead of time when you’re going to broadcast

Go live when you have a strong connection

Write a compelling description before going live

Ask your viewers to follow you and receive notifications when you go live

Say hello to commenters by name and respond to their comments

Broadcast for longer periods of time to reach more people

Be creative and go live often

Recommended reading: How To Use Facebook Live: A Complete Guide by Hubspot

2. Put a Greater Focus on Facebook Videos

If there’s one type of content that’s on every marketer’s radar, it is videos. Native Facebook videos have a greater organic reach when compared to other forms of content.

Source: Social Bakers

More than 100 Million hours of videos are watched on Facebook every day, and an upwards of 73% marketers plan on increasing their usage of video. Check out the links below for tips on how to create engaging video content.

Recommended reading:

3. Quality over Quantity

How many posts should you do in a day? It depends on your industry and how your audience engages with your content. Publishers, for example, post anywhere between 10 and 40 posts per day because they’re constantly updating their followers with editorial content. But, your business shouldn’t necessarily do the same.

Your Facebook page’s organic reach will be healthier if your content is contextual and relevant to your audience. If you publish 7 posts a day that don’t receive any engagement, you will hurt your organic reach overtime.

According to Locowise, pages that posted two or more posts a day got less than 1% negative feedback out of all the people who interacted with them. They also found pages that post one to four times a week achieve higher engagement rates.

4. Pay Attention to Trending Topics

Social media monitoring is an essential part of a lead generating social media strategy.

What is your audience talking about? What are they engaging with?

Knowing answers to these questions and preparing content around them will help your audience connect and engage with you better.

Keep a close watch on Facebook’s trending topics. Use services such as Buzzsumo to identify which content piece under your chosen topic is getting more shares.

5. Avoid Clickbait

While this won’t necessarily increase your organic reach, it will help prevent it from declining.

If you create posts that explicitly ask users to like, comment, or share, Facebook will identify the content as spammy.

Here are some key clickbait best practices from Facebook:

Share headlines that inform

Post headlines that set appropriate expectations

When curating content as a Page, share links that have clear, accurate headlines

Overly promotional posts, spammy links, fake news, clickbait tactics, like-bait tactics, etc. get identified as spam and hurt your organic reach in the long run.

6. Collaborate

Collaboration with other businesses is key to succeeding on a platform that’s cluttered with updates. By collaborating with other companies, you get access to their fans as well as an opportunity to engage with them.

For example, Refinery29 often links back and shares articles from Huffington Post because they speak to a similar audience.


Collaboration not only sets you up for a wider reach but provides your audience greater visibility into your brand and helps you establish your business as a thought-leader in your industry.

7. Feature Your Fans And Make Use Of User Generated Content

On social media, being overly promotional is not the best idea. People want to consume content that offers them something in return. If you’re only promoting your products and services, you will fall short of establishing a connection and trust with your audience.

Try creating content your fans can interact with such as giveaways with a dedicated hashtag or quizzes. You can also acknowledge your fans by featuring a testimonial from them or asking them for feedback about your business. The goal is to make your fans feel valued and look forward to your updates.


As the number of daily active users increases, Facebook’s organic reach is set to decline further. However, by using relevant, contextual, and timely content along with emerging content types, you can drive engagement and results for your business.


This story was originally published on Hearst Bay Area

https://upscri.be/3b9c4d/

An Idea For Your Next Writing Marathon ✍️

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Source: Aaron Burden

Put the phone down 📵

Better: Don’t bring it anywhere near you. Keep it in another room.

Best: Switch it off.

Until this point, you have checked all the notifications you can.

Facebook? Check! Twitter? Check! Instagram? Check? Dropbox? Check! WhatsApp? Check! E-mail? Check! Product Hunt? Check! Snapchat? Check!

You have given enough attention to your phone.

Nope. Nobody’s calling you. Your ear’s simply buzzing. Don’t worry.

That WhatsApp notification can wait. I know it just beeped a few minutes back and you want to finish reading this fast so you can move on to check it.

But hold on. Resist the urge. You are not missing on anything. Really.

Give yourself a tiny break.

Reflect.

Think.

It will be hard but it’s going to be worth it.

The worst thing you can do to you craft is not giving it the attention it deserves. Don’t lose something meaningful by robbing it off the time and effort it needs.

To craft a meaningful piece of work, you need focus, attention, and courage. If you do it right, your best writing will happen.

It shows when someone puts all their senses into creating a story. So don’t write a story with only half of your heart in it. It deserves a definite full.

Give a break to your phone. It needs it. You need it.

https://upsr.be/3b9c4d/


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The Beginner’s Guide To Drip Marketing

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Source: Unsplash

Amidst a giant social media landscape, e-mail marketing still reigns supreme when it comes to closing prospects into paying customers.

But, how has email survived for so long? And why is it effective?

The answer is in the three value driving features of email: it is personal, cost effective, and drives high return on investment when done right.

According to a study by Mailigen, over 89% of marketers say email is their primary channel for lead generation. Surely, businesses have put faith in email. And the effectiveness of it is living up to it.

Image source: WebpageFx

The future of email marketing may get debated from time to time, but the current statistics point to this: email marketing is not dead. Rather, businesses have increased their spend on the channel because of its high return.

So, how do you strategize an e-mail marketing that turns prospects into customers? There are two ways to do it:

  1. The traditional email blast to all your subscribers
  2. Drip marketing

But what’s the difference between these two ways?

Traditional Email Marketing

You have built a large email list through your strong lead generating social media efforts and content strategy. You have put in hello bars, implemented exit-pop up strategies, optimized your landing pages, and explored other marketing avenues for a lead. Overall, your marketing strategies have ensured a steady flow of emails into your database.

As a next step, you initiate an email marketing campaign. It includes product related news, general information, or updates.

Traditional Marketing — Case #1:

  • Day 1: You visit an e-commerce website and check out the latest Nike shoes. However, you are not sure of the price at this moment so you abandon the cart and proceed with your day.
  • Day 4: You receive an email from the e-commerce store about the latest company news and how they plan to expand their product categories.
  • Day 17: You receive a product recommendation newsletter that highlights their latest spring collection.

While sharing product updates and general information to your customers via an email newsletter or one-off promotion can be an effective way to keep your customers engaged on a higher level, it’s important to develop an email strategy that is personalized and relevant to each customer.

Enter drip marketing.

What is Drip Marketing?

Drip marketing or automated email marketing is a way to put your email campaigns on autopilot. The team at autopilothq.com defines it perfectly:

“A drip campaign is a triggered sequence of emails sent on a pre-defined schedule to targeted recipients or email subscribers to achieve a specific result.”

At its core, drip marketing is time-bound, relevant, and tailored to the buyer stage. It also happens to be one of the top email marketing trends of 2017.

Why is it special?

The answer is in the sophisticated ways it lets you communicate with your leads and customers. You communicate with your leads based on their actions (signing up for a free trial, buying a pair of shoes, subscribing to a weekly newsletter) or in-actions (abandoning the shopping cart, no action on email #1, no click on email #4, product unused two months after trial ended). See the example of a drip marketing workflow from Pardot below.

Source: Pardot

From the first welcome message to the closing sales email — drip marketing covers all facets of email marketing on autopilot mode. It is more effective than bulk emails because drip campaigns are targeted and designed for individuals based on their behaviors and actions.

By tailoring your email marketing based on behaviors and actions, you can nurture leads. With the right nurturing, you can move these leads from prospects to customers — covering one buyer stage after another.

Businesses swear by the effectiveness of lead nurturing. We can understand this from the fact that without proper lead nurturing program, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales (Source: MarketingSherpa).

Why is Drip Marketing important?

According to Gleanster Research, 50% of leads are qualified but aren’t immediately ready to buy something from you. Keep in mind, not all of your leads are at the same buying stage. Each lead has unique motivations and needs.

For example:

  • They might have just subscribed to your blog and are in the awareness stage.
  • They just participated in one of your product webinars and showed interest in your latest case study — so they are currently evaluating your services.
  • Or they have signed up for a free trial to understand more about your product before making a purchase.

Source: Hubspot

No matter what buying stage a lead is in, your email communication should be targeted, personalized and relevant to each stage.

With a defined drip marketing workflow, you can move the leads further down the funnel; capitalizing on their behaviors, actions, and personas.

As an example, consider Case #1 from earlier in this post — but, from a drip marketing workflow:

Day 1: You visit an e-commerce website and check out the latest shoes by Puma. However, just like in the previous case, you abandon the cart and proceed with your day.

With drip marketing, here’s what gets changed:

  • Same day: You receive an email that you left a product in your shopping cart along with a link to proceed with the payment. However, you choose not to open it.
  • Day 7: You receive another email from the e-commerce store but this time, they are offering you a 10% discount on the shoes. You open the email, however, you still don’t proceed with buying the shoes.
  • Day 14: You receive an email that the product is on 20% sale. It is in stock only for 24 hours and this is a limited period offer.

In this scenario, the email is relevant, personalized, and invites you to click. You have spread your buyers’ needs over multiple campaigns and a series of emails targeted to their specific needs.

In a nutshell, you tap into your customer’s confidence with every email (drip) until they become purchase ready.

Why does Drip Marketing work?

  1. They are trigger based: Since drips are triggered based, it makes the entire workflow seamless. You can define set periods, actions, and behaviors as a result of which an email is triggered to a user.
  2. They are relevant: From teaching a prospect about the benefits of your product, to informing them about an abandoned cart — drip campaigns bring in incredible relevancy.
  3. They nurture: According to Drip, brands that nurture leads generate 50% more sales- ready customers. Nurturing helps convert your prospects into paying customers — one drip email at a time. This can be an educational drip, an offer drip, a discount drip, or a free trial drip. Behavior defined actions help nurture leads to become paying customers.

Drip marketing works because it keeps your business top-of-mind with your audience. Through timely, relevant, and context-driven emails, a lead has a much better chance of moving through your marketing funnel.

Here are some great examples of drips by Drip.co:

  1. A prospect opens an email and clicks on a link about SEO. You tag her with “seo” and move her into an email sequence on how your tool can be used for SEO.
  2. A different prospect opens an email and clicks a link about social media marketing. You tag him with “social media marketing” and move him into the relevant email sequence.
  3. A trial user creates a new project in your software and you fire off an email about the best way to work with and organize projects.
  4. A customer views your upgrade page but doesn’t upgrade. You follow up via email four hours later with a special bonus (or slight discount) if they upgrade in the next 24 hours.
  5. A website visitor enters his email to download a sample chapter of your E-book about cats. You tag him with “Prospect” and “Cats” and follow-up with a cat-specific sequence of emails.
  6. You’re gearing up for your annual Black Friday sale, so you run a query to find all prospects tagged with “Cats” and schedule an email with a 50% off deal on your newest cat-related E-book.

6 Types Of Drip Campaigns

Highlighted below are the six most common drip emails. Each one of them either educates, engages, or closes prospects based on triggers and behaviors.

1. Re-engagement drips:

These drips are targeted to inactive prospects in order to build back the relationship and develop consideration for your services. Re-engagement drips can be a helpful guide, a latest (and relevant) blog post or a video tutorial to address certain pain points your buyer is having.

Source: Mailchimp

2. Top-of-mind Drips:

Your goal with top-of-mind drips is to occupy a consistent mindshare of your prospects over a period of time. Using top-of-mind drips, you ensure you are touching base with your prospects on a consistent basis.

Source: Anchor

3. Welcome Drips:

Welcome emails set the tone for future interactions with your customers. They are fairly simple to manage, and because of the intent being a soft welcome as opposed to a sales promotion, they receive high open and click through rates.

Source: Quintly

4. Follow up drips:

Send follow-up drips to touch base with users who haven’t tried your product after signing up, or have not been active on it.

Source: Mockup.io

5. Product focused drips:

Remember to keep your customers in the loop about new products and updates to your services. You can significantly improve your churn rate by doing so. Content that is useful to share with these updates include: case studies, industry reports, and white papers.

Source: Hubspot

6. Promotional Drips

Based on customer behavior data, you have segmented your database based on buying stage. Recently, you sent them a list of latest movies to watch and book tickets for. They opened the email, but took no action. What do you do?

You set up a promotional drip. With this campaign, your audience gets a tailored offer to help them make a purchase decision.

Source: BookMyShow

Conclusion

According to Radicati Group, 257.7 billion emails are expected to be sent per day by the end of 2020. Looks like email marketing isn’t going anywhere! So, make sure you tailor your campaigns based on your audience’s needs to increase your overall revenue and retention rate.

https://upscri.be/3b9c4d


Originally published on Hearst Bay Area